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My journey towards building the finest possible fingerstyle guitar I can craft began one evening in 1996 when I attended a Phil Keaggy concert. Seeing him play changed the course of my life. Up to then I had been playing an electric guitar and a cheap mass-produced acoustic guitar; but after hearing Phil, I began to concentrate on fingerstyle.
Shortly afterwards I wondered what guitar Phil played, and with some research found that it was a handbuilt Jim Olson guitar. In 1997 I heard of a local builder here in Michigan named Bill Wise of Charis Acoustics, who had just begun building acoustic guitars. From Bill I ordered my first handbuilt guitar, and received it in 1998. In 2000 I ordered my second guitar from Bill; and it was while he was building it that the luthier bug bit me. In 2001 I made my first guitar, and three years later went full time in guitar building.
In 2008 I attended a master class on top voicing, knowing that it would take my building skills to another level. I went to California and spent a week under the instruction of master luthier Ervin Somogyi. There I gained valuable understanding concerning voicing and design functions, providing me the insight necessary to produce the rich sound I pursue in each guitar I create.
When I first began in 2001, I was influenced by luthiers Jim Olson and Kevin Ryan; and my first guitars resembled theirs in many aspects. And since 2002 I was influenced by other builders such as Jeff Traugott, Michi Matsuda, and many others. In all my experiences, I learned to appreciate simplicity, along with details. In 2009 I took the sum of my learning, knowledge, and experience and created my newest line of guitars.
Today, the Doerr guitar is truly unique to my own experiences and design, and reflects my uncompromised commitment to detail. When people see my guitars, I want them to know with confidence that it is a Doerr.
We met Tom when he brought a few of his early guitars to our shop for critique. We could tell he was going to be a special builder and a few years later he just blew us away. He craftsmanship is clean as can be and he has discovered a voice that is pure and sweet. We are delighted to now be a dealer for Tom Doerr guitars and for our relationship to have come this far.